In our latest report, we took a look at a variety of marketing techniques increasingly common in consumer marketing but less frequently used in the life sciences. These techniques included:

  • Executive branding
  • “Smart instruments” that share data
  • Video and livestreaming
  • Influencer marketing
  • Experiential marketing
  • Sponsored content and native advertising
  • Mobile marketing
  • Website design and digital touchpoints

In this article I discuss a few more observations from our latest report, 2018 Trends in Marketing to Life Scientists: Connecting, Influencing, and Sharing.

 

Optimizing Digital Touchpoints

web_icons_blueProviding an exceptional customer experience (CX) across all touchpoints is essential in the life science tools market, where opportunities for technological differentiation are often hard to find. But as the customer’s interactions with a company become increasingly digital, it’s the marketing department that is managing a growing number of digital touchpoints from the beginning of customer awareness, to a successful purchase and use of a product.

Advances in technology to support marketing efforts are both a driver and a result of the need to identify and reach a tech-savvy customer base that searches for information in constantly changing ways. Some technologies even harvest data on customer behavior to generate predictive insights.

In 2018, the CX challenge for life science vendors is not just to stay competitive with their peers but also compete against sophisticated consumer companies who are constantly rolling out new features to improve the overall quality of their customers’ online brand interactions.

Scientists have multiple channels through which to seek information about products and companies. When one channel fails to yield the required answers the customer may try to use a second or third channel (e.g., live chat, email, phone call, etc.). It is important that the nature of their inquiry and their interactions with each channel is understood so that the conversation does not have to begin from the start at each interaction. The data generated from these interactions will also be important in improving the customer experience at each touchpoint. In our survey, we learned that scientific consumers look for crowdsourced recommendations on research products via customer reviews just like they do when they shop Amazon.com. On average, scientists explore three to four different website resources to learn about new products, so it is not a “one and done” learning experience. We also observed that Millennial and Xennial scientists are more likely to chat online with a live representative than Gen X and Boomer scientists (about 40% compared to about 25%).

 

Smart Instruments and Machine Learning

 

Scientist with DNA copying, Real-time cycler, wideThe integration of analytical instruments and sensors that monitor their performance is increasingly common in life science research laboratories. These systems have primarily been used to ensure proper maintenance is performed or to alert the lab that a system is down. Gradually, however, they are being used to generate and integrate experimental data from multiple instruments across the lab’s entire workflow. This integration produces extraordinarily rich data that can accelerate new discoveries.

While much of the conversation around smart instruments has centered on their potential to advance science, it also has potential to enhance marketing. When shared with the manufacturer through a cloud-based service, data being generated by lab instruments can help marketers understand the customer’s past experiences, in order to offer suggestions and content that is personalized and relevant. In consumer marketing, predictive analytics based on online behavior is used to suggest products, personalized discounts and related articles. When used in the lab, predictive analytics based on smart instruments can be used to cross-sell related products, anticipate when orders will be placed based on consumption, send service alerts and offer intelligent product recommendations. Concerns over privacy and how their data can be used persist: half of the scientists surveyed are not willing to share data with all users of the same instrument if they have no control or boundaries around who gets to see it.

 

Visual Content and Livestreaming

media_playerVisual content graphically represents information to convey meaning and enhance understanding. It can be delivered in the form of video and photographs but can also be icons, graphs, and data visualization. It can be static, animated or interactive. It is widely recognized that with once unimaginable amounts of content now available, marketers must seek out new ways to engage customers and their ever shortening attention spans. Numerous studies have show that consumer engagement with visual content is significantly longer than with text and is more readily sharable that text-based marketing.

Ensure your videos, infographics, etc., are informational, engaging and recipient-oriented. Avoid selecting a generic topic, and instead choose something that answers a specific question your audience might have. Keep in mind that user-generated content plays well in this space.

In scientific marketing, a distinction must be made between the ‘click-bait’ visuals that are ubiquitous on social media and develop content that uses visual elements to establish thought leadership and subject matter expertise. Visual content is especially useful when explaining complex scientific concepts and how the company’s products solve specific customer problems. With its ability to generate awareness, establish credibility and build loyalty among customers seeking quick or detailed answers, visual content is a critical component of the marketing mix. Livestreaming is an increasingly popular component of visual content not least because it fosters a sense of community among your customers. In our survey, more than 60% of scientists really liked the idea of life science suppliers livestreaming video because this format supports real-time question and answer sessions as well as giving scientists the ability to provide real-time feedback.

I hope you found this second of a three-part series to be interesting. If so, please share it and download and executive summary of 2018 Trends in Marketing to Life Scientists: Connecting, Influencing, and Sharing.

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